You loved hugs. In your opinion, there was no greater way to express emotions than with a giant hug. Because really, there were very few occasions where a hug would be an inappropriate response.
But rather unfortunately for you, your closest friend and ally was a nation that held personal space above all else. Which really stunk for you; you could almost guarantee that Kiku would be capable of some of the best hugs in the world. But until you could actually hug him and find out, you had to satisfy yourself with the ever cheerful Toni. Not that you didn’t love Toni’s hugs, but you’d been friends with Kiku for centuries and you’d waited long enough!
So you’d recruited Toni to help you figure out a way to get Kiku to give you a hug in some shape or form. Unfortunately though, this was proving to be a lot harder to do than you’d anticipated.
“Why don’t you pretend to be really sick or injured? He might hug you out of worry.”
“No, he always knows when I’m faking.”
“What about pretending to be really scared?”
“ Nu-uh. I did that once while being legitimately scared and he just patted my back.”
“That’s no way to treat a pretty chica!”
“It was super awkward.”
You could only chuckle at Toni’s reaction. You could understand why Kiku kept his distance, even from someone who was as close to him as you. But sometimes you couldn’t help but be bothered by it.
A sigh slipped past your lips as you rested your chin in one hand. You knew that Kiku didn’t mean to be offensive when he wouldn’t allow you to touch him in any way; that was just his culture. But in your country people were very friendly and to not allow any physical contact other than the bare minimum could come across as insulting. Especially in the case of someone that was supposed to be a close friend. You understood that Kiku had different ideals than you but you’d known him for so long that sometimes you were bothered by his lack of affection for someone who was supposed to be his best friend.
It hurt to think about, but sometimes you couldn’t help but wonder if you were just an annoyance to him and that’s why he never opened up to you.
“You know, we could just bring it up directly.”
You blinked as Toni’s voice snapped you out of your thoughts.
“What do you mean?” you asked, looking over at him.
“You could just go up and ask for one,” he said with a shrug.
“But that wouldn’t work. He’d just get all flustered and find a way to escape.”
“But have you tried it?”
“Then what could it hurt?”
Toni grinned and clapped his hands before getting up and lifting you out of your seat and grabbing your wrist. “Then it’s settled. We’ll go find him and you’ll just ask for a hug!”
You groaned in fake annoyance and dug your heals into the ground to make it harder for him to carry you. Your plan backfired however when he let go of your wrist, making you fall on your butt. Before you could recover, he’d picked you up and thrown you over his shoulder. So with a sigh, you surrendered yourself to your fate.
About an hour passed and you were bored out of your mind. Toni hadn’t set you down the entire time and you were debating on whether or not you should just take a nap.
“Mr. Spain? What are you doing?”
Well it looked like you wouldn’t have to worry about being bored anymore.
“Hola, Japan! Fancy meeting you here!”
“…You’re in front of my house.”
“Oh wow! Look at that! You’re right!”
“Hey, Kiku,” you said, lifting a hand to offer a backwards wave, since you couldn’t turn around and see him.
“That would be me.”
“What are you doing?”
“Hell if I know.”
“(Name) had a question she wanted to ask you!”
You almost cringed at Toni’s sudden interjection, losing the little belief you had that this would work. Butterflies fluttered in your stomach as Toni set you down and turned you to face Kiku. Why were you freaking out so much? You were just going to ask for a hug, for cripes’ sake.
“So what did you need to ask, (Name)?”
“Uh, uh, uh, uh...” You flushed as you stuttered, something you’d never done around Kiku before. Kiku’s brow furrowed in worry as he lifted a hand to rest the back of it against your forehead, which made your blush worse.
“Are you feeling alright, (Name)? You’re not acting like yourself.”
“Can I Have A Hug?!” Your face went blank as you started mentally beating yourself for that. Why did you just blurt that out?! What was wrong with you?! You were making yourself look like a complete idiot in front of your crush and—
…Since when did you consider Kiku your crush?
Toni and Kiku could only exchange worries glances as you stood in front of them, face completely devoid of emotion. Toni stretched out a hand and waved it in front of your face. When that didn’t get a reaction, he moved that hand down to poke your side. A startled squeak leaving your lips made them both sigh in relief.
“(Name), are you sure you’re feeling alright?” Kiku asked again. You glanced at him and nodded unsurely. He caught onto that and his frown deepened. Picking up on the atmosphere, Toni slipped away, knowing you’d want privacy.
“Uh, sorry, Kiku. I’m not trying to act weird on purpose.”
“You know, if something’s wrong you can tell me. I wouldn’t be a very good best friend if I wasn’t there when you needed me.”
“Then why won’t you let me hug you?” you asked, looking up at him a little sadly. Kiku’s eyes widened slightly before a blush erupted across his cheeks. That in turn made your eyes widen since you were not expecting that sort of reaction at all.
Kiku began stuttering in an attempt to answer you. But he spoke so quietly and quickly that you could barely make anything out other than a few select words.
“Kiku, Kiku, wait. I can’t understand you. What were you saying?”
He heaved a sigh and pointedly stared at a spot off to the side to make things easier and so he wouldn’t have to look at you as he repeated himself.
“I know you must think I don’t care for you because I still keep a great distance between us despite having known you for so long. But that’s not it. Recently I’ve been feeling new things around you. And I was scared you wouldn’t return those feelings so I kept my distance to ensure that my feelings wouldn’t grow stronger. However, that doesn’t seem to be working all that well…” Kiku chanced a glance at you as his sentence drifted off and was greeted by the sight of a huge grin on your face.
“You should have said something, Kiku,” you said, trying not to giggle. “I like you too; as more than a friend.” You actually did giggle as his shoulders slumped in relief before he came forward to wrap you up in a tight embrace. A happy sigh escaped you as you cuddled into him.
“I was right. Your hugs are a million times better than Toni’s.”
“Glad I could prove you right,” he said, chuckling quietly.
The peaceful moment was ruined, however, when Toni decided to reappear and launch himself at the two of you.
“Yes! Hug therapy is exactly what you two need!”
“TONI, GET OUT OF HERE!!”